Solidarity chain against the Muslim and refugee bans at US Embassy in Ottawa on January 30, 2017 (Photo credit: Claude Panneton)
By Anne Dagenais Guertin and Tim McSorley – So much has happened in the last few days, we are struggling to keep up. The sheer volume of bad news can be overwhelming, so we are elated to see that people are taking to the streets, to their communities and to social media to show their solidarity against violence, racism, Islamophobia and injustice, with no sign of that outrage fading soon.
Our thoughts and solidarity are with the families of the victims and survivors of the shooting at the Centre culturel Islamique de Québec in Ste-Foy, and we firmly condemn all forms of violence and discrimination, especially Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism.
In the weeks and months leading up to this heinous crime, we have seen so many attacks on the rights and lives of numerous people and communities coming from so many sides, that they often feel chaotic, even unrelated. But as others have pointed out, and as we strongly believe, the events of January 29th cannot be seen in isolation from the overall political environment. They must be seen as linked, and denounced as such.
The Honourable Ralph Goodale
Minister of Public Safety
269 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0P8
January 30, 2017
Dear Minister Goodale,
We are writing to you about the urgent need for Canada to revise the Ministerial Directives on torture issued by the previous government to conform to the unconditional ban on torture in international law.
Doing so now would send an important signal to Canadians and to the international community that Canada will under no circumstances use information from a foreign country that was likely obtained under torture, or share information that could likely lead to an individual being tortured.
Dear supporters of the ICLMG,
When it came to the protection of civil liberties from the pressures of national security and the war on terror, 2016 was a difficult year. While we hoped the new Canadian government would take action to undo Bill C-51 and address serious concerns about our fundamental freedoms, we are heading into 2017 facing even graver challenges. We are ready to face those challenges, but need your help.
Together we can protect civil liberties in 2017
Donate to the ICLMG today
What lays ahead for 2017?
- The federal government’s consultation on national security opened the door to increasing police surveillance powers. Agencies like the RCMP and CSIS have grabbed that opportunity to claim they need more powers to prevent crime, with no hard evidence to back them up.
- CSIS and other agencies are using bulk data-collection practices they claim are allowed under current laws, but that have been denounced by watchdogs and found illegal by the courts.
- We will continue to fight against growing national security powers, including for the full repeal of C-51.
- Canada has no independent body in charge of reviewing all of our national security agencies; this means limited accountability and next to no redress when laws are broken or rights violated. The new committee of parliamentarians that will oversee national security activities is a start, but does not go nearly far enough.
- Despite voting in favour of redress for victims of torture while in the Opposition, and stating that they would re-visit a ministerial directive allowing for the use of information obtained under torture, the Liberal government has made no move to address this crucial issue.
- President-elect Trump and other incoming high-ranking US officials have made it clear that they are open to the return of torture in interrogations and the prioritization of “security” over civil liberties. Pressure on Canada to align our laws with the US will only continue to grow.
ICLMG will be at the forefront of these issues in 2017, defending our fundamental rights and proposing new policies and directions to strengthen safeguards, oversight and review.
We need your help to make it happen. Donate to the ICLMG and help us to fight for a more just and fair Canada. Click here to give today.
The ICLMG receives no government, partisan or corporate funding; all our support comes from independent organizations and individuals like you. Over the past 15 years, we’ve been able to achieve a lot with that support. With your help today, we can respond even better to the challenges ahead.
Click here to support the ICLMG
& defend civil liberties in 2017
Thank you for your ongoing support!
National Coordinator, ICLMG